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October 24, 2001 - October 24, 2001

Anthrax claimed lives of 16 animals in Sept Wednesday, October 24, 2001

TIMES NEWS NETWORK
GANDHINAGAR: At least 16 animals, mostly sheep and goat, died following an anthrax outbreak in Chanchapar and Paddhari areas of Rajkot district last month and teams of veterinary doctors of the state animal husbandry department controlled the spread of the disease through effective vaccination.

State animal husbandry minister Devanand Solanki, who reviewed the precautionary measures being taken by the government with officials led by director S K Pandya, said no cases have been reported so far this month.

While speaking to 'The Times of India', Solanki said animal husbandry staff have been asked to either burn the animal carrying bacteria infection or bury them if they were tested positive. District collectors have been asked to maintain vigil in rural areas. The officials have been asked to convene gram sabhas and educate shepherds against the possible outbreak of the disease.

The animals fall prey to the infection while grazing when they consumed roots carrying the germs.

Pandya said every year, anthrax claims at least 30 to 40 sheep. In all 100 such deaths were reported in the last three years. He claimed that the vaccination campaign had warded off the possibility of the animals infecting humans.

Experts examine packets
Biological experts of Jamnagar Medical College have checked two packets received by Reliance Petroleum from the United States and found nothing harmful in them.

Health minister Ashok Bhatt said the company, on receiving the packets, informed the police who handed over the packets to the medical college. The team led by Dr Minaxi Oza examined the packets. One had five books and the other, chocolates.

News Source : The Times of India [India's best Newspaper]


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Anthrax claimed lives of 16 animals in Sept Wednesday, October 24, 2001

TIMES NEWS NETWORK
GANDHINAGAR: At least 16 animals, mostly sheep and goat, died following an anthrax outbreak in Chanchapar and Paddhari areas of Rajkot district last month and teams of veterinary doctors of the state animal husbandry department controlled the spread of the disease through effective vaccination.

State animal husbandry minister Devanand Solanki, who reviewed the precautionary measures being taken by the government with officials led by director S K Pandya, said no cases have been reported so far this month.

While speaking to 'The Times of India', Solanki said animal husbandry staff have been asked to either burn the animal carrying bacteria infection or bury them if they were tested positive. District collectors have been asked to maintain vigil in rural areas. The officials have been asked to convene gram sabhas and educate shepherds against the possible outbreak of the disease.

The animals fall prey to the infection while grazing when they consumed roots carrying the germs.

Pandya said every year, anthrax claims at least 30 to 40 sheep. In all 100 such deaths were reported in the last three years. He claimed that the vaccination campaign had warded off the possibility of the animals infecting humans.

Experts examine packets
Biological experts of Jamnagar Medical College have checked two packets received by Reliance Petroleum from the United States and found nothing harmful in them.

Health minister Ashok Bhatt said the company, on receiving the packets, informed the police who handed over the packets to the medical college. The team led by Dr Minaxi Oza examined the packets. One had five books and the other, chocolates.

News Source : The Times of India [India's best Newspaper]


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Gram Sabha is real, 'Samras' is a ploy! Wednesday, October 24, 2001

TIMES NEWS NETWORK
Our new CM NaMo has again thrown two dices -- one is his finger pointing at Gram Sabha as the basic institution that he wants to be revived, and the other could apparently be a political ploy -- his announcement to launch a drive to declare more and more villages as election-free 'Samras'!

That means a Samras village will be the one that will not elect its sarpanch but will choose him/her by a consensus! It is highly doubtful whether it would be a practical way to create a feeling of unity through such a so-called consensus in the presence of some taluka officials and BJP activists. Meanwhile, NaMo has not once uttered a word about his predecessor Keshubhai's favourite Gokulgram. Perhaps, does he see those already 'gokulled' 3,649 villages as "gone with the wind", as they are not likely to vote for the BJP?

I had written in this column sometime back, in the context of rural problems in Saurashtra, that the best way to settle the accumulated mess was to revive the Gram Sabha (general body meeting of all the village voters) as the supreme body, stipulated in panchayat law but never realised. I have been a witness to many villages in Saurashtra where voters have no knowledge about their panchayat's activities.

By law, every decision of the elected panchayat was to be endorsed by the Gram Sabha. It was bigger and more powerful than those usurpers like taluka development officers or district development officers or those directors of district development agencies -- all put together.

Actually, NaMo perhaps does not know that this bunch of village 'developers' have succeeded in killing this vital institution of Gram Sabha. Moreover, the Gokulgram scheme spent millions of rupees in cosmetics but it never talked of reviving the Gram Sabha.

What, instead, we see in the villages today are faction-ridden panchayats, autocratic or powerless sarpanches (normally the largest caste representatives), corrupt and absentee secretary or talathi and totally non-functional members in the face of the most despicable condition of infrastructure and backwardness. Most of the collectors and TDOs/DDOs work in a remote-control format without any live touch with the rural mass.

Sensitivity to people's needs is no more a cherished value for the administrators from down to top.

NaMo could get full marks, as no other CM has got before, if at all he succeeded in restoring some sensible orientation to the 'babudom's' deep-rooted culture of 'saheb & gulam'. Now NaMo wants those same 'babus' to go to the village Gram Sabhas and activate them. This would be like culprits in charge of a treasury. What is most essential is first to train those 'babus' and teach them how to understand villagers' psyche and how to identify with them.

Another major problem for gram panchayats was the lack of financial recourses. Neither Samras nor Gram Sabhas could fill up this huge gap. The only way to solve this problem was to make every village a self-reliant unit by handing over or building at least one small or medium industrial unit with all its profits going to that village. Preferably such a unit could make export-only goods. China has adopted this practice and my recent talk with a village chief over there convinced me that such a method was worth trying in our country too. Such a scheme could prevent the village unemployed peoples' migration to urban areas too.

So far as NaMo's idea of Samras was concerned, BJP may use this scheme to avoid the panchayat elections for fear of losing them -- which have already been postponed three times in the past. 10,000 village panchayat and taluka-district panchayat elections should be declared absolutely a non-party affair and should be freely held instead of trying to 'choose' the village heads by consensus. It can be clearly seen that 'consensus' choices would fall on those elements that support only the ruling party. More grants to such Samras villages could provide an incentive to keep the mouth of all other villagers shut.

It is not known, by the way, what happened to those 2,445 villages that were supposed to be adopted by various NGOs and industrial companies, as announced in July 1999 by Keshubhai Patel? In fact, even according to the rural development sources, only 3,649 villages out of 18,000 were so far declared as Gokulgram, where whatever rickety village gates or bus stops were built have already fallen flat or dilapidated.

One further step earmarked for Gokulgram villages was to survey those living below the poverty line. Such a survey earlier done by an NGO had found out that most names on the list belonged to the well-to-do class instead of the real poor. This was because the sarpanch or talathi-mantri would 'co-opt' names of their choice for the purpose of taking benefits of fans, bicycles or roof-repairing grants for their own kith and kin instead of for the rural poor. Nothing short of a complete overhaul of past system could salvage our villages.
(Batuk Vora)

News Source : The Times of India [India's best Newspaper]


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Togadia dares BJP govt on Ayodhya Wednesday, October 24, 2001

TIMES NEWS NETWORK
RAJKOT: While Opposition parties may feel that it is a joint ploy by the Sangh Parivar outfits to whip up sentiments on the Ram temple issue, Vishwa Hindu Parishad international general secretary Pravin Togadia threw a challenge to the BJP government at the Centre and in Uttar Pradesh to oppose the present plan to construct the Ram temple at Ayodhya. He said "no political party, be it the BJP or the Congress, can oppose the temple construction."

Togadia told newsmen: "No political party can win in Uttar Pradesh Assembly elections without giving a helping hand to the cause of construction of the Ram temple at Ayodhya." Asked if the stand taken by the VHP and the Bajrang Dal on the construction of the temple could lead to a confrontation with the National Democratic Alliance (NDA) government at the Centre and the BJP government in UP, the VHP leader said: "The Hindu samaj is ready for such a confrontation."

According to Togadia, courts cannot give a judgment on the rights of any faith, and the Hindus have the right to worship at the Ram temple. The court can only decided on the site of the temple, not on matters of faith.

"There is no solution to the Ram temple issue without 'sangarsh' (conflict)". Giving details of the construction of the Ram temple, Togadia said the first step towards the temple construction would begin from November 26 when 'Ram Naam Jaap' will be undertaken. As many as five crore people would be mobilised. The programme would conclude on February 17 when the call for "Chalo Ayodhya" would be given by the VHP leaders and sadhus. The programme of 'Ramdhun' would begin from November 26 at all villages in the country at 8 p.m., and in bigger towns at 9 p.m.

"For the next 100 days, lakhs of Hindus would come to Ayodhya, and almost five crore VHP volunteers would be on stand-by orders." Togadia said the main event would taken place soon after Mahashivratri.

News Source : The Times of India [India's best Newspaper]


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Governor at 'puja' celebrations Wednesday, October 24, 2001

TIMES NEWS NETWORK
Governor Sundar Singh Bhandari inaugurated Durga Puja celebrations organised by Durgabharati and Purbasha Sanskriti Mandal respectively at Chandkheda and Gandhinagar on Tuesday. In his inaugural address he urged the people to imbibe the spirit of valour to fight the evils which plague society.

He also prayed the Mother Goddess and sought blessings for the destruction of demonic power of terrorism. He also released a Durga Puja souvenir booklet produced to mark the programme which is being held till October 26.

News Source : The Times of India [India's best Newspaper]


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